Even Nancy Pelosi agreed: Bakersfield legend Merle Haggard deserves to have his name attached to the U.S. Post Office at 1730 18th St.
Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., it became so. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield formally proposed designating the city's downtown post office as the Merle Haggard Post Office Building.
The bill passed by unanimous voice vote — so that would presumably include McCarthy's opposite number, Democratic Leader Pelosi — after McCarthy spoke on the floor of the House in support of his bill honoring the legacy of the hall-of-fame singer-songwriter, who died in 2016.
“The Bakersfield Sound changed country music," McCarthy said in remarks before the House. "And it’s a testament to Merle Haggard’s talent that when you listen to hits from ‘Branded Man’ to ‘Mama Tried’ to ‘Big City’ to ‘Working Man’s Blues’ or even to ‘Okie from Muskogee,’ you not only hear the hardship and wisdom of a well-lived life, but you can hear the roots of so much of the music we still listen to today.
“For a man who went from Bakersfield High to San Quentin prison to the Country Music Hall of Fame, a building doesn’t seem like much. But I hope that when people pass by the Merle Haggard Post Office Building in downtown Bakersfield, they will remember an icon of our community, an artist who never backed down, a man whose honesty about his own failings and willingness to pick himself back up inspired music that lifts our spirits and feeds our souls."